WHO African Country Disease report |06 September 2023
Seychelles makes strides towards achieving 95-95-95 target
Seychelles, along with seven other African nations, has made significant progress in HIV treatment, support, and care, moving closer to achieving the 95-95-95 targets.
These targets aim for 95 percent of people living with HIV to know their status, 95 percent of those aware to receive life-saving antiretroviral treatment, and 95 percent of those on treatment to achieve viral suppression.
According to a recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 755 individuals in Seychelles were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2020. Antiretroviral medicines are crucial in stopping the virus from replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to recover and preventing further damage.
However, as per the Africa Country Disease Outlook published on August 30, 2023 there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the number of people with HIV who are aware of their status. While acknowledging progress, the report highlights that the 95-95-95 goals have not been fully achieved, primarily due to limited data on HIV awareness and the fact that only 81 percent of those aware of their status are on antiretroviral treatment. Additionally, 91 percent of individuals living with HIV and receiving treatment have achieved viral suppression.
Founder and chairperson of the HIV/Aids Support Organisation (Haso) Justin Freminot proposed that a study be conducted to accurately determine the number of persons who are HIV positive.
He confirmed that treatment is accessible and available to all who are HIV positive, even if there is a proportion of persons living with HIV who are not following treatment.
“It is difficult for us to understand why HIV positive persons are not following treatment. Of them, a number are aware of their status, and started treatments but then stopped, while a number have never opted for treatment. We are aware that this is due to a number of factors, but so far, we are yet to conduct any studies to find out the major factors contributing to this,” Mr Freminot noted.
Haso facilitates access to treatment for persons who need to access treatment and provides support and care.
In a bid to raise awareness about HIV/Aids and to encourage individuals to get tested and to follow treatment, Haso has amped up efforts in mainstream media and other platforms.
“The response is however not much; it is mainly on a one-to-one basis. Through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health, we are working towards reaching more persons, for us to achieve the 95-95-95 target,” Mr Freminot added.
Seychelles stands out among Indian Ocean nations in terms of its progress towards meeting these targets, according to the report's findings. In neighbouring Mauritius, which has a population of over 1.2 million, approximately 3,088 people were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2020. However, Mauritius has yet to make significant progress towards the 95-95-95 goals. Only 56 percent of people living with HIV are aware of their status, 26 percent of those aware are on treatment, and 18 percent of individuals on treatment have achieved viral suppression.
Meanwhile, in the Comoros, only 90 people were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2021. Although the Comoros has not met the 95-95-95 goals, 86 percent of those living with HIV know their status, with 70 percent of them on treatment. Data is limited regarding viral suppression among people living with HIV and receiving treatment.
These reports offer a concise overview of disease profiles across countries in the WHO African region, focusing on key indicators for controlling both communicable and non-communicable diseases at the national level. It also assesses progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The spotlight for the report is on major communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/Aids.
“While enormous progress has been made in many areas of disease eradication, elimination and control in the WHO African region, there are few SDG indicators that have been met in full,” the report states.
Declines in numbers of new HIV infections are greatest in sub-Saharan Africa; a 57 percent reduction in Eastern and Southern Africa, and a 49 percent reduction in Western and Central Africa.
Data show that by 2022, two-thirds of the people living with HIV globally were receiving life-saving treatment. Access to antiretroviral therapy has expanded massively in sub-Saharan Africa, with 82 percent receiving antiretroviral therapy in Africa. An additional 0.6 million people received HIV treatment in 2020, 2021 and 2022.